Charles FitzClarence VC

Name: Charles FitzClarence

Conflict: Second Boer War

Gazetted: July 6, 1900

Service: Army

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Charles FitzClarence VC
Charles FitzClarence VC Medals
Medal group

Place/date of birth: Bishopscourt, Co Kildare, Ireland/May 8, 1865

Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Captain (later Brigadier General)

Date of bravery: October 14 – December 26, 1899

London Gazette citation:

The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment).  Captain Charles FitzClarence.

On the 14th October, 1899, Captain FitzCIarence went with his squadron of the Protectorate Regiment, consisting of only partially trained men, who had never been in action, to the assistance of an armoured train which had gone out from Mafeking. The enemy were in greatly superior numbers, and the squadron was for a time surrounded, and it looked as if nothing could save them from being shot down. Captain FitzCIarence, however, by his personal coolness and courage inspired the greatest confidence in his men, and, by his bold and efficient handling of them, not only succeeded in relieving the armoured train, but inflicted a heavy defeat on the Boers, who lost 50 killed and a large number wounded, his own losses being 2 killed and 15 wounded. The moral effect of this blow had a very important bearing on subsequent encounters with the Boers.

On the 27th October, 1899, Captain FitzCIarence led his squadron from Mafeking across the open, and made a night attack with the bayonet on one of the enemy’s trenches. A hand-to-hand fight took place in the trench, while a heavy fire was concentrated on it from the rear. The enemy was driven out with heavy loss. Captain FitzCIarence was the first man into the position and accounted for four of the enemy with his sword. The British lost 6 killed and 9 wounded. Captain FitzCIarence was himself slightly wounded. With reference to these two actions, Major General Baden-Powell states that had this Officer not shown an extraordinary spirit and fearlessness the attacks would have been failures, and we should have suffered heavy loss both in men and prestige. On the 26th December, 1899, during the action at Game Tree, near Mafeking, Captain FitzCIarence again distinguished himself by his coolness and courage, and was again wounded (severely through both legs).

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Other decorations: N/A

Place/date of death: Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, Belgium/November 12, 1914

Grave/memorials: Menin Gate Memorial, Belgium; St George’s Memorial Church, Ypres, Belgium; St Peter’s Church, London; Staff College, Camberley, Surrey

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased at auction, Sotheby’s, London, 1990

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum